Signifying the New Ethiopian Millennium

August 14th, 2007 Print Print Email Email

Signifying the New Ethiopian Millennium

Selam Beyene, Ph.D.

The dawn of the new Ethiopian Millennium, which will be observed by Ethiopians at home and those in the Diaspora with immense pride and well-founded hope for the future, will bear different significances to different groups.

For Zenawi and his oppressive machinery, it will be a smokescreen to divert attention from the critical issues of the day:

· the agonizing economic conditions of the vast majority of the people[1],

· the return of power to the legitimate winners of the elections of May 15, 2005[2], and

· the prosecution of those responsible for crimes against humanity, including the massacre of unarmed civilians in the aftermath of the May 15, 2005 elections[3,4].

It will be a welcome opportunity for Zenawi to attract Ethiopians in the Diaspora, who are eager to celebrate the special occasion with their loved ones, and who will come with much-needed hard currency. The Ethiopian Airlines, one of the most valued cash cows of the TPLF money launderers[5], and the various TPLF owned hotels, restaurants and other tourist-oriented facilities in the country are expected to generate hundreds of millions of dollars to fatten the foreign bank accounts of the dictator and his cronies that have been hit hard by the negative reactions of donors toward the brutal actions of the tyrannical regime following the elections.

Zenawi will spitefully view and use the moment as a chance to repair his damaged image as an enemy of Ethiopia. As a disgraced and traitorous leader, he has repeatedly denigrated the proud history of the country and desecrated the national flag that Ethiopians and much of Africa so affectionately cherish. He has violated the territorial integrity of the ancient land by advocating the secession of one of its legitimate provinces and carving and handing out fertile lands to other countries[6]. He has compromised the long-term interest of the country by invading a neighboring country that posed no tangible threat to Ethiopia‘s security. He has wickedly and venomously interjected ethnic discord among the various groups who have lived in harmony for centuries.

With inapposite and out-of-place extravaganza that can rival a Hollywood event, the new Ethiopian millennium will also be exploited by the corrupt and inept regime to mask the immeasurably excruciating economic hardship experienced by the vast majority of the people. As inflation sky-rockets to an all-time high and more and more people fail to make ends meet, the members of the minority government launder money in foreign bank accounts [5] and squander the meager resources on expensive lobbying[7]. As a wicked and segregated educational system condemns the vast majority of the vulnerable youth to a life of perpetual servitude and hopelessness[8], an elite class of the minority regime is rapidly forming, with their sons and daughters crowding premier schools and universities at home and abroad. According to a recent report, “[O]nly about 60 per cent of students in Ethiopia survive to Grade 5, see, e.g.,[8]. As widespread diseases decimate the population through a subtle agenda of ethnic cleansing, the dictator will spend millions of dollars on millennium festivities to hoodwink the unsuspecting outside world into believing the existence of a state of normalcy and prosperity. Based on a 2006 Human Development Report, Ethiopia is ranked 170th out of 177 countries with respect to a composite measure of life-expectancy, education and standard of living[9].

To a handful of sycophants, the occasion will have significance of a more sinister nature. It will serve to curry favor with a vicious dictator, under the guise of observing a historic moment. These are individuals who work hard to derail the passage of a bill in the US Congress ? a bill whose only aim is to protect the democratic rights of the people of Ethiopia [10]. In the name of organizing the millennium festivities, they make themselves frequent visitors of Zenawi’s office, and help to disguise the illegitimacy of the regime, and the crimes the leaders have committed against humanity, by feeding lobbying firms and Congressional members fabricated information about the sorry state of the nation. Shrouded in the subtleties of the customs of the ancient land, they have become deadly tools of an iniquitous regime in the purge of opposition leaders, who are coerced into assuming responsibility for the crimes of the dictator[11].

And, what is the true significance of this special moment to the veritable sons and daughters of Ethiopia?

The occasion will mark the end of a turbulent century, in the final chapter of a remarkable millennium, when the sovereignty of a dignified people was challenged by Fascism, their freedom trampled upon by a military dictatorship, and their unity and aspiration for democracy crushed by a brutal and ethno-centric dictator.

Most importantly, it will be a time for the vast majority of Ethiopians to reflect on their achievements of the May 15, 2005 elections, in which they stunned the dictator and the outside world with their determination and resoluteness to exercise their rights to choose a government through the ballot box.

It will also be an occasion to renew their fortitude to take back what has unfairly been stolen by the vicious despot, to remember the 193 unarmed civilians brutally massacred by the Agazi and other killing machinery of the minority government, and to persevere with their call for justice against the criminals.

For thousands of Ethiopians who will be making pilgrimage to their motherland to share the precious occasion with their loved ones, the moment will be a time to witness first-hand the sufferings of millions of their fellow citizens, who are experiencing unimaginable economic hardship and political oppression under the iron rule of Zenawi and his minority regime. Unhindered by the façade of blitz and glitz and the luxurious lifestyles of the few urbanites and TPLF lackeys, they will see the true hardship befalling the 70 million plus Ethiopians, who are struggling to eke out a precarious existence that pales in comparison the condition under the discredited and brutal regime of Mengistu Haile Mariam. As noted by economic analysts, the number of people earning less than one dollar a day has tripled since Zenawi’s dictatorship replaced that of Mengistu’s [12]. A recent report of the World Economic Forum ranks Ethiopia 123rd out of 128 countries in economic competitiveness [13]. According to a 2007 study on Ethiopia, issued by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), a cause of the poverty is poor governance, particularly when the government does not “… allow participation in political life, provide access to justice, deliver adequate public services or control corruption.”[1]

The beginning of the new millennium will be a moment for all ethnic groups across the land to renew the bond that has held them together for generations, to re-affirm their unity as Ethiopians, and to join hands in the fight against tyranny.

· To our Oromo brothers and sisters, it will be an instance to cherish our shared heritage and to celebrate the lives of our great heroes ? the patriotism of Gobena , the sacrifice of Teferi Banti, the excellence of Bikila and the immeasurable contributions by the common Oromo man and woman in building modern day Ethiopia. It will be a time to shed off the ugly mask of ethnicity that Zenawi and Afewerki have imposed on us and to work toward the common goal of building a free and just Ethiopia. It will be a moment to assert that dictators, like Zenawi and Afewerki, who have denied basic human rights to the people they govern with iron fists, cannot have good wills toward seeing us free and united. It will be a historic juncture for the people of Oromo, as one of the largest ethnic groups of the country, to exercise their natural role to be in the forefront of the fight for democracy and unity of their motherland.

· To the people of Tigray, this will be an extraordinary event to celebrate the glorious contributions of their forefathers over the centuries in the making of a country that became the pride and beacon of hope for the entire African continent and other oppressed people the world over. This will be a momentous occasion for all Tigreans to make a vow to dissociate themselves from a brutal dictator, who has been riding on their backs to destroy the very civilization their ancestors built ? the land Alula defended and the way of life that Emperor Yohannes paid for with his life. No people in history, with such a glorious past as that of the sons and daughters of Tigray, have been subjected to be an instrument of repression for a wicked dictator, whose stated mission is to vilify, destroy and erase the civilization their ancestors heroically built. This will mark a turning point for the people of Tigray to join Gebru Asrat[14] and Seye Abraha in the fight against despotism and for the preservation of the Ethiopian nationhood.

· To the Amharas, the Gurages, the Afars, the Somalis, the Anuaks and the other proud people of Ethiopia, this is a moment to renew their pride in their common legacy, to revitalize their resolve to abolish totalitarianism once and for all, and to build a new Ethiopia, where equality, liberty and fraternity will prevail, democracy will flourish, and no individual, group or organization will oppress any other.

For opposition groups, whose agenda is the establishment of democracy and social justice and the protection of Ethiopian unity, this will be a time to set aside paltry differences and to work in unison to free the people from the oppressive rule of Zenawi and his minority regime. Faced with a depraved enemy, whose goal is to destroy the Ethiopian nationhood and to enslave the people through brutal force, economic deprivation and ignorance, there should be no place for petty personal agenda. There can be no better time to harness the immense resources that are yet to be tapped toward the realization of the struggle for the formation of a free, just and united Ethiopia. Conditions have never been more favorable to free the people from the yolk of Zenawi’s oppression:

· Major newspapers in the West have generously given unprecedented coverage to the atrocities being committed by Zenwai against the people of Ethiopia [15,16,17].

· Prominent lawmakers in the US and elsewhere have recognized the true nature of Zenawi’s regime, and have condemned him as a “vicious” dictator[18,19]

· The chance of the passage of HR2003 in Congress is as strong as ever, and the sponsors of the bill and its promoters are determined to bring it to a viable conclusion [21].

· Despite the draconian measures that Zenawi took to emasculate the opposition, the people are reinvigorated to rally behind their freed leaders and to press for the return of power to the legitimate winners of the May 2005 elections.

· The case for crimes against humanity is getting stronger by the day, despite Zenawi’s feeble attempts to hide under the cover of “fighting terrorism” or to pass accountability to opposition leaders using “shimagles” as a Trojan Horse[21].

· The extreme economic conditions at home are too harsh for Zenawi to perpetuate his iron rule through brutish force against the people and generous handouts to a handful of greedy followers.

· The unjust and unprovoked war he declared on Somalia has become a drain on his meager sources, and is eroding his principal instrument of oppression at each passing day[22].

The new millennium thus signals the dawn of democracy and social justice, and the beginning of the end of dictatorship, ethnic politics and minority rule. All genuine Ethiopians, wherever they may be at that moment, shall be celebrating it as such, without regard to, or distracted by, the diversionary pomp and glitz that the dictator and his lackeys have mischievously designed as smokescreen to obscure the misery and oppression of the people.

August 11, 2007



  1. | #1

    That is a noble hope for Ethiopia in the new millenium. However, we need to make a fundamental change in our approach in solving Ethiopia’s many hardships. In my opinion, we need to devise ways of transfering guns held by the state-makers to a “neutral entity/body” so that Ethiopians will not be ruled through the barrel of the gun, as per usual. This condition – rule through the barell of the gun has, by far, been the source of Ethiopia’s tragedy and predicament. Doing so, I believe, creates a safe space that would allow Ethiopians excercise their individual and group rights. Otherwise, nothing will have changed.

    Lets “nationalise the guns of the state” so that we can sort out our numerous problems without the ever present fear of persecution and state-organised violence.


    Liban (of negede Oromoo).

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